PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08: Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after he sacked Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys won 20-16. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
It's widely accepted as fact that the 2008 Dallas Cowboys suffered as the result of lofty expectations, a seeming sense of entitlement. Whether or not that's true, if you believed that the team was setting itself up for failure, for whatever reason, you were far from disappointed.
Super Bowl-bound, they were not; hell, they didn't even make the playoffs, which, considering their generally accepted preseason status as odds-on favorites to win the NFC, was kind of unimaginable. In 2010, the expectations are back to some degree, and it doesn't help that Super Bowl XLV will be played at JerryWorld in Arlington.
External circumstances, as Dallas has learned so painfully, can present a challenge all their own; it's for that reason that Jay Ratliff and the Cowboys are fighting to focus on the old cliche of "taking it one day at a time."
“We are thinking about winning one game at a time, exactly," said Ratliff on a recent interview with the Ticket, per the Dallas Morning News. "You start looking at a Super Bowl, you lose a few games, and the next thing you know you’re hoping somebody else loses so you can try and get in the playoffs. We don’t want that to happen. . .
"We all dream about it, but we know what we need to do to get there. I want to tell you. You can’t ignore it. I mean, you can’t forget about it. Every single day you’re reminded of it. I mean, if you’re at home, you’re reminded of it. Somebody calls you on the phone, ‘Oh, man, you know, the Super Bowl’s in Dallas. Man, you gotta get it this year.’"
Ratliff acknowledges that it will be a challenge, but knows well--as, we imagine, most of the Cowboys do--that nothing in the NFL comes for granted.
"That’s called ‘learning from your mistakes,’" Ratliff said. "That shows the maturity of our team. We know where it went wrong; we know what happened wrong, and this year, we know we did well and want to try and build on that, and just really minimize all our mistakes.”
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